There are studies that suggest that some foods can help fight the coronavirus. And it is not about any exotic fruit: they are things that we can buy from the nearest supermarket.
Here’s the list of six foods that may be beneficial in the fight against the pandemic according to specialists.
Although vaccines are already on the way and in several countries vaccination has even begun, we are still far from overcoming the pandemic. Doctors are still looking for ways to reduce the risk of infection or avoid going through the worst forms of the disease.
Fresh or canned tuna is one of the most popular products in the world. It is a good source of vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein, and these can be helpful against the virus.
In a study published in the journal Food Chemistry in October, researchers from Bohai University in China look at the role of tuna-derived proteins in preventing coronavirus infection.
They have discovered that a peptide called EM that is produced when tuna is digested can prevent the coronavirus from attacking cells and impede their ability to replicate.
“Research shows that a tuna [EM] protein binds to a receptor [on a cell] and could potentially block SARS-CoV-2 from attaching,” said British Nutritionist Association spokeswoman Hannah Whittaker. She also warned that excessive consumption of tuna can be harmful to health, as it contains a lot of mercury.
Dark chocolate and grapes
The flavanols are a group of chemical compounds found in many products, such as green tea, Muscadine grapes, black chocolate, blueberries and wine. They are known for their health benefits: they improve blood circulation and mental alertness for the elderly.
The US researchers found out that the flavanols could stimulate the immune system of a person to help fight coronavirus. According to the study published in Frontiers in Plant Science, these compounds are also capable of acting against the virus’s Mpro enzyme, crucial for its reproduction and spread.
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Kefir or kephir is a dairy product similar to yogurt and made from fermented milk. It contains a lot of protein and calcium. It is known for its benefits against irritable bowel syndrome, in addition to normalizing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Its antiviral properties were described in a study published in the journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. Researchers from various universities claim that kefir has antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
One of the most dangerous aspects of COVID-19 is that, in some seriously ill people, the immune system can go haywire and overproduce molecules called cytokines. This causes severe inflammation and can be fatal if not controlled.
In turn, kefir is an anti-inflammatory agent and can inhibit the activity of cytokines.
Grapefruit seed extract
Rather, a nasal spray based on grapefruit seed extract.
An international group conducted two experiments and found that a concentration of just 0.2% of grapefruit seed extract was able to reduce the amount of SARS-CoV-2 below detectable levels.
Studies highlight that the extract is beneficial for cleaning the nose and potentially any viruses, but also claim that it has antiviral properties.
We talk about products such as processed cheese, dairy desserts, milk, fermented beverages and meat, among others. In the process of natural preservation of canned foods, a bacteria called nisin is formed, which works as a biopreservative.
Indian specialists have prepared an article where they claim to show that nisin is capable of blocking certain receptors on a cell and thus preventing the virus from attaching itself to it.
Carrageenan is a form of red edible seaweed used to treat respiratory diseases in 19th century Ireland. It is currently used in the manufacture of aerosols.
Researchers at the University of Swansea have started human trials of this over-the-counter remedy. Previously, tests in the laboratory showed that it could prevent infections and reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
It should be remembered that research showing the usefulness of one or another food for health requires clinical trials. Although the nutritionist at King’s College London Sarah Berry argues that the best way to use food to better protect against COVID-19 is to follow a traditional, healthy and varied diet.
“We know that there are certain food groups to which they attribute anti-inflammatory properties and that reinforce immunity, but there is not a single food that protects us,” she concludes.